RORC - Royal Ocean Racing Club


The 2017 RORC Transatlantic Race is incorporated into the 2017/2018 Atlantic Anniversary Regatta and is organised in association with the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda to celebrate the 50th anniversary of YCCS. The race starts 25th November 2017 in Lanzarote and finishes at the YCCS yacht club in Virgin Gorda. The race also makes up one half of the Atlantic Anniversary Regatta, with the second race organised by the RORC and NRV starting in Bermuda in July 2018 and finishing in Hamburg.
  • 1970: Classes are regrouped: Class 1 – 33-70ft rating, Class 2 – 29-33ft, Class 3 – 25.5-29ft, Class 4 – 23-25.5ft, Class 5 – 21-23ft. Alan Green joins as Assistant Secretary (Racing). Westminster Council gives permission for No19 St James’s Place to be used for club purposes. It is subsequently knocked through to No20.
  • 1971: Sponsorship from Dunhill enables a temporary clubhouse to be erected in Groves & Gutteridge in Cowes. Intense interest in the Admiral’s Cup is fuelled by Prime Minster Ted Heath captaining the British team to victory, the team featuring his S&S42 Morning Cloud II, Prospect of Whitby and Bob Watson’s Cervantes IV. 17 nations compete with the strong entries again from Australia and the USA. For the first time it is raced under IOR. Due to the size of the fleet, the Cowes Week races are dropped in favour of 30 mile stand-alones. Australian Syd Fischer’s Ragamuffin wins the Fastnet Race by two hours on corrected time, while Ted Turner’s American Eagle sets a new course record of 3 days, 5 hours 11 minutes. Traffic Separation Scheme rules tightened, causing races in the eastern Channel or southern North Sea to be rerouted or terminated.
  • 1972: Mary Pera succeeds Alan Paul as Secretary.
  • 1973: Robin Aisher’s Dick Carter-designed Frigate furthers yacht design, being a fully stripped out racer. The crew introduces hiking and sleeping to weather. British Admiral’s Cup team comprises Morning Cloud III, Frigate and Quailo III however the event is won by Germany. Sir Maurice Laing appointed Commodore. 1973 RORC member race entry fees: Class 1 £19, Class 2 £17, Class 3 £15, Class 4 £13 and Class 5 £11.
  • 1974: RORC organises a Transatlantic Race back to Plymouth from the end of the Bermuda Race. Jeremy Rogers’ Gumboots wins the One Ton Cup in Torquay.
  • 1975: RORC organises the Financial Times Clipper Race. Club’s 50th anniversary sees the club’s Patron, HM The Queen and Prince Phillip visit 20 St James’s Place. An anniversary ball held in the Painted Hall at the Greenwich Royal Naval College and a dinner hosted at Grosvenor House. Britain wins the Admiral’s Cup with Ron Amey’s Noryema X, John Prentice’s Battlecry and Robin Aisher’s Yeoman XX.
  • 1976: British Island Race (round Britain and Ireland) is held, starting and finishing in Southend with one division sailing non-stop, the other stopping in Crookhaven, Stornoway and Blyth. Line honours are taken by Robin Knox-Johnson on More Opposition. John Roome appointed Commodore, as Sir Maurice Laing becomes Admiral.
  • 1977: Admiral's Cup reaches its peak entry with 19 teams (repeated in 1979) and an additional race is held the Thursday before Cowes Week. The British team, comprising Marionette, Moonshine and Yeoman XX, retained its title. The Fastnet is won by Dave Allen’s Imp, the innovative Ron Holland design racing for the US team. Champagne Mumm comes on board as the Admiral’s Cup sponsor.
  • 1978: Mary Pera steps down as Secretary to be replaced by Alan Green.
  • 1979: The largest ever fleet of 303 sets off on the Fastnet Race but is caught in a freak storm in the Irish Sea. Despite the best efforts of HM Coastguard, the rescue service and the Navy, 15 lives are lost and 23 boats abandoned (including the RORC training boat, Griffin VI). A formal inquiry instituted by the club and the RYA, results in new Special Regulations to improve boat construction, watertight integrity and vessel identification; fitting of trisails and VHF radios become mandatory; qualifications for competitors are introduced and the number of starters limited to 300. Donald Parr appointed Commodore.
The 1980s
  • 1981:Decisive win for the British Admiral’s Cup team comprising Peter de Savary’s Victory of Burnham, the Saffery-Cooper’s Dragon and team captain Robin Aisher’s Yeoman XXIII. The Caribbean Pursuit Race is run, starting from Cowes and heading to Antigua via Las Palmas.
  • 1982: After a long search for Cowes premises, RORC gains use of the Disrespect, tied up in a deal with the Trustees of the neighbouring Prospect. Its name was coined by Max Aitken as at one point it housed his crew. Recession bites – the One Ton Cup is cancelled due to a lack of entries. Hot topic: IYRU Rule 26 and sponsorship of yachts and teams, plus ‘incorrect’ ratings.
  • 1983: Opposition to sponsorship in yachting disappears when Champagne Mumm acquires naming rights to the Admiral’s Cup. Britain fields a team comprising Graham Walker’s Indulgence, Dragon and Dixon Atkinson’s Black Topic, but finishes eighth with Germany winning the series. Restrictions on electronic aids to navigation are lifted. David Edwards appointed Admiral.
  • 1984: Channel Handicap System introduced in partnership with the Union National du Course au Large. With race entries stagnating, modern day corporate life is blamed and typical race lengths are shortened to make them more appealing to those needing to get to work by Monday morning.
  • 1985: Simon le Bon’s Drum capsizes in the Fastnet Race. Germany claims the Admiarl’s Cup again, while Peter Whipp’s Panda, racing in the British team, wins the Fastnet and Marvin Green’s maxi, Nirvana, sets a new course record of 2 days, 12 hours, 41 minutes and 15 seconds. Larry and Debbie Woodell’s Jade wins the One Ton Cup. Robin Aisher appointed Commodore.
  • 1986: The latest Griffin, a Sigma 41 run by the National Sailing Centre and skippered mostly by Stuart Quarrie, is Yacht of the Year: The Three Quarter Ton Championship in Torquay is won by Graham Walker’s Indulgence. James Capel sponsors the British Admiral’s Cup team which, although strong – including Mike Peacock’s Juno III, Alan Gray’s Jamarella and Indulgence – is beaten by New Zealand (winning on its sixth attempt).
  • 1987: The Austrian-chartered I-Punkt is disqualified for contravening IYRU Rule 22 (transferring water ballast). Membership stands at 3545.
  • 1988: Jonathan Bradbeer appointed Commodore.
  • 1989: Admiral’s Cup contested by 14 teams and includes an additional long inshore in Hayling Bay. Richard Keeling, Harold Cudmore and Bill Edgerton manage the British team of Indulgence, Alan Gray’s Jamarella and Mike Peacock’s Juno, resulting in the first British victory in eight years. Alan Green appointed Director Racing and Tony Ashmead is Director Rating and Measurements. Donald Parr becomes Admiral.
The 1990s
  • 1990: Members vote with their feet: While entries are still strong in the shorter races, they plummet in the longer ones. The only exception is the new Brent Walker European Challenge from Brighton to Puerto Sherry, Cadiz, which attracts 60 starters and is won by Richard Keeling’s Spartan. David Minords becomes General Manager.
  • 1991: Admiral’s Cup is raced in three level rating boats – One Tonner, Two Tonner and IOR 50. First sponsored British boat, the Two Tonner, Wings of Oracle, competes alongside the Farr 50, Juno V and the One Tonner, Port Pendennis. IMS is adopted by the Offshore Racing Council as the replacement for IOR in 1985, but it is subsequently run in parallel with IOR for some divisions in RORC races. Red Funnel Easter Challenge introduced, the RORC’s first all-inshore event and offering coaching to competitors. Decline of IOR shown by there being 712 CHS starters, 246 IMS and just 105 IOR (including 63 for the Admiral’s Cup). RORC Rating Office writes the Whitbread 60 rule. John Dare becomes Commodore.
  • 1992: First Commodores’ Cup held for teams of three IMS boats using the ‘Ton Cup’ race format. It is envisaged as a Corinthian regatta until the world’s top teams and sailors pitch up in Cowes. Teeside Development Corporation backs the Round Britain Race which stops in Cork, Lerwick and Hartlepool. It is won by Mike Taylor-Jones’ 1974 vintage, Deerstalker. Peter Wykeham-Martin becomes General Manager.
  • 1993: CHS adopted as the primary rating system and enhanced by the Rating Office providing ‘endorsed’ certificates. St James’s clubhouse renovated with modern accommodation for members. RORC launches a competition for a Class 3 one design and eventually chooses a Bruce Farr design that becomes the Mumm 36. A year later orders for 100 had been received.
  • 1994: First Mumm 36 World Championship is held in the Solent. John Warren takes over as Director of Rating. John Bourke is appointed Commodore. 20% rise in race starters to 622.
  • 1995: Admiral’s Cup boat line-up comprises a Mumm 36, ILC 40 and an IMS 44-50 footer and is deemed a success despite there only being seven full teams. Group 4 backs the British team which has to charter its big boats (ex-Rubin XIV and Aerosail Astro) from German owners. Italy scores its first win with a strong performance from Brava Q8. First Teachers Round Britain and Ireland Race held in one design Jeanneau 36s, to help develop youth offshore racers. IMS ‘simplified’ by using a Time Multiplication Factor, rather than a performance curve, in all races, except the Admiral’s Cup. Flexi-courses, that can be changed mid-race, are introduced.
  • 1996: To promote amateur sailors, pro sailors are limited in the Commodores’ Cup to two on the big boats, one on the smaller boats. Two-Handed Class introduced. Sir Timothy Bevan appointed Admiral.
  • 1997: USA claims the Admiral’s Cup for the first time since 1969. 245 starters for the Fastnet Race. The presence of French grand prix offshore classes is felt in the Fastnet when Laurent Bourgnon’s ORMA 60 trimaran, Primagaz, claims line honours, Banque in Luxembourg takes monohull line honours and Morning Glory winds the Fastnet Challenge Cup under IMS. In an attempt to resolve the issue of multiple rating rules, RORC and the UNCL unveil IR 2000, comprising IRC and IRM. IRC replaces CHS while IRM is aimed at the grand prix fleet. Terry Robinson appointed Commodore.
  • 1998: Dramatic change for the Admiral’s Cup which is taken out of Cowes Week and no longer includes the Fastnet Race. The mid-sized boat is changed to the Sydney 40 OD with boats available to charter for £1 plus sails.
  • 1999: Catherine Chabaud’s Open 60, Whirlpool-Europa 2, wins the Fastnet under IRC. Loick Peyron’s ORMA 60 trimaran, Fujicolor, sets a new course record of 1 day, 16 hours and 27 minutes and Ross Field’s RF Yachting sets a new monohull record of 2 days, 5 hours and 8 minutes. First IRC National Championship and Sydney 40 Worlds are held. Admiral’s Cup sees ‘Commonwealth’ and ‘Europe’ teams. The French 50 footer Krazy K-Yote Two is prohibited from racing due to its ‘Krazy’ free-standing mast. For the first time since they first entered in 1959, victory goes to the Dutch.
The 2000s
  • 2000: Tony Buckingham-led Channel Islands Team wins the Commodores’ Cup by a large margin over England Blue. Peter Rutter appointed Commodore. With Alan Green retiring, Janet Grosvenor becomes Racing Manager.
  • 2001: Admiral’s Cup is cancelled due to a lack of teams. Rolex first sponsors the Fastnet Race. This attracts 229 starters with Gianni Agnelli’s maxi, Stealth, claiming line honours but RORC veteran, Piet Vroon aboard his Lutra 52, Tonnerre de Breskens, wins overall under IRC on his 20th attempt.
  • 2002: Admiral’s Cup still in upheaval – a new venue announced as being Dun Laoghaire, Ireland, the event to be raced by two-boat teams, from yacht clubs rather than nations, sailing an IMS 600 and a larger IRC boat. Cleaning up at the Commodores’ Cup was Gery Trentesaux’s French team, comprising the IMX-40s, Courrier Nord, Eric Fries’ Fastwave 3, and the X-442 Clin d’Oeil of Jean-Yves le Goff. At the Rating Office in Lymington Mike Urwin becomes Technical Director.
  • 2003: The Admiral’s Cup is eventually held in Cowes with the two new boat format. It is won by the Australian team of Bob Oatley’s Wild Oats and Colin O’Neil’s Aftershock. A moderate Rolex Fastnet Race sees 245 starters with Neville Crichton’s Alfa Romeo picking up line honours but Charles Dunstone’s Nokia claims overall honours. IRC is awarded ‘international’ status by ISAF. Chris Little appointed Commodore.
  • 2004: In the Rolex Commodores’ Cup there is an 11th hour win by France Blue.
  • 2005: Admiral’s Cup is cancelled (and has not been held since). 283 boats start the Rolex Fastnet Race including rock star Simon le Bon’s former Drum maxi, 20 years after her keel loss. Maximus beats Skandia Wild Thing in the battle for line honours and looks good for overall handicap prize until she is beaten by one of the smallest boats in the fleet – Jean-Yves Chateau’s Nicholson 33, Iromiguy.
  • 2006: Once again it is a French team under Gery Trentesaux that claims the Rolex Commodores’ Cup, Trentesaux sailing his First 44,7, Courrier du Coeur, alongside Stephane Neve’s Sinergia 40, Paprec Recyclage and Cyrille Legloahec’s A-35, Batistyl. David Aisher appointed Commodore and Chis Little elevated to Admiral.
  • 2007: IRM phased out. For the first time in its history the start of the Rolex Fastnet Race is delayed. In the battle for monohull line honours, George David’s Rambler and Mike Slade’s newly launched Farr 100, ICAP Leopard, are separated by three seconds at the Rock. ICAP Leopard sets a new monohull course record of 1 day, 20 hours and 18 minutes. Ger O’Rourke’s Cookson 50, Chieftain, claims the IRC prize. However the race is overshadowed by gale force winds which result in 75% of the fleet retiring.
  • 2008: In the Rolex Commodores’ Cup a strong Irish turnout is overcome by GBR Red comprising John Shepherd’s Ker 46, Fair Do’s VII, Peter Rutter’s Corby 36, Quokka 7 and Jerry Otter’s Ker 39, Erivale III. Eddie Warden Owen is appointed CEO. Ian Loffhagen becomes Racing Manager.
  • 2009: RORC Caribbean 600 is held for the first time. John Burnie’s ORMA 60 trimaran Region Guadeloupe sets the course record as Mike Slade’s ICAP Leopard scoops monohull line honours and Adrian Lee’s Cookson 50 Lee Overlay Partners is the overall winner. ICAP Leopard faces no real competition for monohull line honours in a light wind Rolex Fastnet Race, however the race sees the debut of a new breed – the competitive 72ft Mini Maxis – one of which, Niklas Zennstrom’s Ran, claims the race overall on corrected time. Among the increasingly strong fleet of French grand prix boats, Seb Josse’s IMOCA 60, BT, beats Ran on the water despite being sailed doublehanded. Andrew McIrvine appointed Commodore.
The 2010s
  • 2010: After three strong campaigns, Ireland finally comes good, winning the Rolex Commodores’ Cup with a single but powerful team, led by Anthony O’Leary and his Ker 39, Antix, with David Dwyer’s Mills 39, and Andrew Creighton’s Corby 36, Roxy 6.
  • 2011: In the Rolex Fastnet Race, there is drama when the canting keel falls off Rambler 100 shortly after rounding Fastnet Rock. As dusk is settling, all her crew is rescued by the Baltimore lifeboat despite five, including owner George David, drifting away from the boat. Loick Peyron’s 40m long maxi-tri, Banque Populaire, sets a new outright course record of 1 day, 8 hours and 48 minutes and the Ian Walker-skippered VO70, Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, reduces the monohull record to 1 day, 19 hours and 39 minutes.
  • 2012: Brewin Dolphin becomes title sponsor of the Commodores’ Cup, which is won by GBR Red, comprising Jonathan Goring’s Ker 40, Keronimo, Andrew Williams’ Mills 39, Dignity and Mike West’s A-35, CNBC. Michael Greville is appointed Commodore. Nick Elliott promoted Racing Manager.
  • 2013: Despite being limited to 300, entry for the Rolex Fastnet Race’s IRC fleet is filled within just 24 hours of opening. Ultimately there is a record participation of 337 starters. The 40m trimaran, Spindrift 2, again collects overall line honours and the European maxi Esimit Europa 2 is first monohull home on the water. The race has its first doublehanded winner in the French JPK 10.10, Night and Day, sailed by father and son team, Pascal and Alexis Loison. Andrew McIrvine becomes Admiral.
  • 2014: RORC merges with the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club in Cowes. An east to west transatlantic race is reintroduced, running from Puerto Calero, Lanzartoe to Grenada and acting as a feeder race to the Caribbean 600. Unable to muster a team to defend its title in 2012, Anthony O’Leary leads another Irish campaign to victory in the Brewin Dolphin Commodores’ Cup. Michael Boyd appointed Commodore.

2017 RORC TRANSATLANTIC RACE / CQS © James Tomlinson
2017 RORC TRANSATLANTIC RACE / © James Mitchel
2017 RORC TRANSATLANTIC RACE / CQS © James Tomlinson

    Royal Ocean Racing Club - since 1925

    The RORC was founded in 1925 to encourage long distance yacht racing and the design, building and navigation of sailing vessels in which speed and seaworthiness are combined. 

    Today the club encourages ocean, long distance and other forms of yacht racing and yachting activity.

    RORC - Royal Ocean Racing Club

    General Enquiries, Membership, House:

    20 St James's Place
    SW1A 1NN

    Phone: +44 (0) 20 7493 2248
    Fax: +44 (0) 20 7493 5252

    Racing Enquiries:

    82 High Street
    Isle of Wight
    PO31 7AJ

    Phone: +44 (0) 1983 295 144
    Fax: +44 (0) 20 7493 5252


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